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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 51 (2009) 2, 107 - 116

Review article

The post-concussion syndrome: understanding and treating a disease process

S.Z. Stapert

summary
background The consequences of mild traumatic brain injury have been well described and are considered to be benign symptoms. So far, little is known about the chronicity of the symptoms (post-concussion syndrome) and about the treatment of the symptoms.
aim To review the consequences of mild traumatic brain injury and the course and treatment of the post-concussion syndrome for the purpose of improving treatment.
method Recent literature was reviewed and the findings were integrated into the existing knowledge about post-concussion syndrome.
results The literature reveals a dichotomy in the interpretation of post-concussion symptoms - they are regarded as being psychogenic or neurogenic. The description of the post-concussion syndrome in terms of a disease process is not new, but has been largely neglected in the literature, and represents an attempt to integrate the extreme positions.
conclusion Scientific research into post-concussion syndrome has given considerable attention to diagnostic issues, but has given much less attention to the development of treatment. Future research into the treatment of the post-concussion syndrome should result from the integration of current viewpoints and a description of the syndrome in terms of a disease process.

keywords cognitive disorders, mild traumatic brain injury, post-concussive syndrome, treatment